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Western Animation / The Deep

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"My family are explorers. We have been for generations. While others look up to the stars, we know there are an infinite number of things that shine in the darkness below. There are things lurking in the sea that long ago vanished into myth. My family are explorers. And we explore The Deep."
Antaeus Nekton

The Deep is an Australian/Canadian animated series based on the graphic novel of the same name by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer. The show is produced by Canada's DHX Media (through their acquisition Nerd Corps Entertainment, of Dragon Booster, Storm Hawks, League of Super Evil, and Slugterra fame) and Australia's A Stark Production.

The series follows The Nektons, a family of underwater explorers who live on a submarine known as The Aronnax. The Nekton family have devoted their lives to the exploration, discovery, and protection, of the oceans of the world, and all the marine life therein.

What's more, the Nekton family are also hunting for one of the biggest secrets the ocean holds, the sunken city of Lemuria. To that end, with the help of a mysterious old man by the name of Nereus, the Nektons are trying to locate and collect the pieces of an Ancient Artifact called The Efemicron, which could lead them straight to Lemuria.

The series debuted on 7TWO on December 1st, 2015, and is currently airing on Family CHRGD (now WildBrainTV) in Canada and ABC Me in Australia. A second season in September 2017 followed by a third in March 2019. A fourth season was announced in 2021, with Singapore's Infinite Studios now joining production.

The Deep contains the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Kaiko Nekton is the underwater equivalent of this. Will says she is greatest sub pilot alive and all the evidence supports this. In "The Dark Orca", she discovers she can roll the Aronnax: something no one thought was possible.
  • Action Dad: William Nekton.
  • Action Mom: Kaiko Nekton.
  • Agent Mulder: Ant
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A.I.M.Y., an artificial intelligence developed by Professor Fiction to protect The Nektons. She took this objective so seriously, that she actually began forbidding them from anything she interpreted as the Nektons putting themselves in danger.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In "Lonesome Jim", Ant and Fontaine crawl through the air vents on Evil Poacher Conger's submersible base. Fontaine comments on how overrated air vents are as a means of passage.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Fontaine clearly feels something for Smiling Finn, a pirate, who reciprocates her feelings.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Nektons. Word of God says they're a mixed race.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Fontaine regards Ant as this.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Many of the Nektons express a disbelief in kaiju in season two, well after having encountered several beforehand.
  • Artificial Gill: Both the Nektons' face-covering oxygen masks (no scuba tanks) and mouth-fitted rebreathers count.
  • Awesome Underwater World: The Nektons are devoted to exploring and documenting the wonders of the deep.
  • Big Bad: Season 1 had Proteus as an enemy to the Nektons in finding Lemuria. Season 2 had him demoted to Big Bad Wannabe to make Alpheus more threatening
  • Big "NO!": Captain Hammerhead screams this at the end of "Loki's Castle" when he learns that the treasure is fake.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: The giant hermit crabs glow a bright blue.
  • Blinded by the Light: In "Colossal Squid", the Rover is attacked by a colossal squid: a creature that lives in the darkest depths of the ocean and has the largest eyes in nature. The Nektons are able to drive it off by turning the Aronnax's searchlights on full power.
  • The Chosen One: Nereus and Proteus firmly believe that Ant is the one who will reassemble the Efemicrom, and get it to reveal Lemuria's location.
  • Dismantled Macguffin: The Efemicrom in Season One.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Jeffrey has a scarred tail, subtly helping him stand out from other Yellowback Basslets, which becomes important in "Song of the Siren" when the Nektons need to find him out in the open ocean populated by similar fish.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: In "The Baltic Sea Anomaly", the Aronnax has sailed in a radio dead zone and Will is watching Keiko explain something to the kids outside the sub:
    Will: She's either explaining what's happened, or she wants me to order a pizza."
  • EMP: In "Bloop", the Nektons use an EMP generator that Professor Fiction is carrying to knock out a mining machine that is threatening to destroy a unique coral reef. However, a backup power source kicks in a minute or so later and restarts the machine.
  • Even The Rats Won't Touch It: A Running Gag in "Lonesome Jim" involves a strain of kelp Will has been breeding as a new foodstuff. At the end of the episode, Ant offers a strand to the tortoise Lonesome Jim, who turns up his nose at it.
  • Evil Old Folks: Proteus.
  • Evil Poacher: Sebastian Conger, the multimillionaire collector of rare species, who will stoop to any level to acquires species for his collection.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Fontaine is the Responsible Sibling to Ant's Foolish Sibling
    • Mad Madeline is the Foolish Sibling to Smiling Finn's Responsible Sibling
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Well, the word "enemy" may be a bit of a stretch, but the giant hermit crabs the Nektons encounter in one episode DID take a man's fridge and water tank. Even if it was to use them as new shells.
  • Giant Squid: Antaeus and Fontaine are nearly eaten by one in one episode. Later on, a whole bunch of them show up and attack The Aronnax.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In "Beware the Sentinels", Ant is attempting to escape the tomb. He reaches the exit to the chasm when the stonefish spear through his flippers. He manages to ditch the stonefish by taking off his flippers.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: In "Fossil", Ant is forced to abandon his wetsuit: revealing that his wearing boxer shorts with little fish (which look like Jeffrey) on them, much to Fontaine's amusement.
  • Hand Gagging: "Fossil". When the giant crocodile lumbers into sight, Fontaine claps her hand over Ant's mouth to prevent him screaming in panic and giving away their position.
  • Imprinting: In "Fossil", a baby dinosaur hatches out of its egg and immediately imprints on Ant as the only moving thing in sight (and because his wetsuit reeks of fish food). It Makes Sense Incontext.
  • Least Rhymable Word: In "The Dark Orca", Ant invents a backpack that allows him to carry Jeffrey around above water. He names his new invention the 'jorange'. Why? So that way he has invented two things: a backpack aquarium, and a word that rhymes with orange.
  • Locked in a Freezer: In "The Field of Giants", Fontaine and Finn are trapped together, and running out of oxygen, after they are swallowed by a giant clam (It Makes Sense in Context). Character development ensues.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: A weapon smuggler does this when she locks Kaiko in the engine room; Fontaine remarks how utterly stupid it is to lock an Ace Pilot in the engine room of their vehicle. Similarly, trying to fight someone who was born on a submarine on said submarine doesn't go well for the smuggler as Fontaine casually watches the smuggler get thrown around by her mother's driving.
  • Mama Bear: Do not threaten Fontaine or Ant. Kaiko Nekton will make you regret it.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Knights, robotic diving suits that are just on the "piloted rather than worn" side of the line between this and Powered Armor.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: In "The Fossil", a baby dinosaur hatches out of its egg and immediately imprints on Ant as the only moving thing in sight. Unfortunately, the baby's massive mother later shows up in search of her baby, and as Snappy (the name Ant gave to the baby) won't leave Ant's side, she starts pusuing him in an effort to retrieve her baby.
  • Myth Arc: The Nekton family's hunt for the city of Lemuria.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: In "The Dark Orca", Kaiko and Ant are trying to tell William about the salvage ship sunk by the Dark Orca while Will is engrossed in attempting to translate the Lemurian scroll. Will makes noncommittal replies until Kaiko says that the ship was taken by Martians who dragged it away while singing "Jingle Bells". Will replies "Fine. I'll get to it tomorrow", at which point Kaiko starts yelling at him.
  • Ocean Punk: The show has many of the aspects of this (focus on life under the waves, pirates, etc.), but is about a family of explorers who choose to live under the sea rather than being about a flooded world.
  • Only Sane Man: Fontaine. Also Finn for the Dark Orca crew.
  • Outlaw Town: 'The Floating Market' is a haven for pirates, bandits and thieves.
  • Pirate Girl: Captain Hammerhead's daughter Mad Madeline is probably the most Axe-Crazy member of the crew of the pirate submarine the Dark Orca.
  • Precocious Crush: In "Lonesome Jim", it is revealed that Ant has a crush on Fontaine's best friend Jess Gorman (who is Fontaine's age or slightly older).
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: William Nekton is an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The mining executive in the episode "Bloop." While initially seeming like a Corrupt Corporate Executive, he does offer to stop if the Nektons get him proof of what's causing the titular Bloop. Once they get genuine evidence of the source and that his automated mining machine will destroy it if allowed to continue, he immediately orders the mining to be halted. When the machine refuses to stop (due to unintentional damage caused by the Nektons attempting to slow the machine earlier), he gives them the schematics for it and is willing to accept whatever damage the Nektons have to do in order to halt the runaway digger.
  • The Reveal: Turns out, the Nektons are Lemurian, and the reason their whole family's always been drawn to the sea is out of a need to go home.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Whale of a Tale" posits that Herman Melville based Moby-Dick on a real sperm whale which continues to live into the present day.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Sealed within Lemuria is something evil that Proteus intends to harness for his own goals.
  • Secret-Keeper: An inversion with Nereus. He tends to keep many secrets from the Nektons, which often cause them to distrust him.
  • Ship Tease: Smiling Finn and Fontaine Nekton.
  • Short Teens, Tall Adults: Fonatine is 15 years old and 149 cm (410) tall. Her mother is 170 cm (57) tall.
  • Shout-Out: Their submarine is named after Prof. Aronnax from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Submarine Pirates: Captain Hammerhead and the crew of the Dark Orca, who act as a dark version of the heroic Nekton family.
  • Suicidal "Gotcha!": In "The Dark Orca", Finn has Fontaine and Ant cornered on board a small tugboat in the open ocean. He is amazed when, instead of surrendering, they throw themselves off the side of the boat. However, it is then revealed that they have jumped into their parents' speedboat which has pulled up alongside the tug.
  • Team Pet: Jeffrey
  • Technologically Blind Elders: For all his wisdom, Nereus is completely lost when it comes to operating the Nektons' technology.
  • Tempting Fate: This exchange in "Dark Orca":
    Smiling Finn: Another disaster averted.
    (cable behind him snaps)
    Fontaine: You're not allowed to talk any more.
  • Teetering on the Edge: At the start of "Colossal Squid", an accident with the Rover and drone causes the Rover to crash and come to rest on the edge of undersea cliff with Ant and Fontaine inside.
  • There's No Place Like Home: This is ultimately why the Nektons are always exploring the ocean. Turns out, their ancestors were Lemurian.
  • This Is Reality: Fontaine says this when Ant is trying to create a Catchphrase.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Axe-Crazy Pirate Girl Mad Madeline is obsessed with mermaids.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Efemicron, a compendium of ancient Lemurian maps to places you should really stay away from.
  • Turtle Island: In the episode "Tartaruga", the Nektons find out that an island that apparently moved is one of these.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The Dark Orca Crew, despite the Nektons helping save their ship in "Captured".
  • UST: Between Finn and Fontaine. Both are aware of their mutual feelings for each other but nothing will come of it while Finn is still a pirate.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: In "The Dark Orca", Kaiko uses the backwash from the Rover's impellors to blast away two of the Orca's crew who are closing on the incapacitated Ant.
  • The Worm That Walks: In "The Abyss Stares Back", the Nektons encounter a species of octopus that cluster together and use their camouflage ability to mimic other creatures.
  • Wrench Wench: Kaiko is the one who performs all of the maintenance on the Aronnax and its gear. Fonatine is shown to have inherited her mother's knack for pulling things apart and putting them back together.
  • Your Other Left: In "Bloop", Ant is being guided through the inside of a mining machine when this happens:
    Professor: Look to your right. There should be a hatch.
    Ant: (panicked) It's a dead end!
    Professor: Your other right.
    Ant: Oh, yeah. There it is.